Tuesday, February 21, 2006

It’s a Small World After all

I attended an event called "Small World" on Saturday. It was described by my friend who invited me, as a food-tasting event for charity. Many countries would be represented there and guests would have the chance to sample their food. I love food and I am a big supporter of charitable work, so this combination sounded perfect to me.

Getting there was hell! It seemed like all the expatriates in Lagos were there, either enticed by the thought of some good, home cooking or they are all just extremely altruistic by nature. The downpour that let loose out of the sky JUST as I was leaving the house did not help either (rain cripples the already congested Lagos traffic situation). It took me about an hour to get to the school, where Small World was been held even though it would normally be a 15-minute journey from my house ("normally", though, means hardly ever). It took another half hour to park, after which I waded in the tropical-style rain puddles to get onto the school grounds.

Small World is organised every year by, what I believe, to be an association of foreign-born women living in Nigeria (I’ll have to check the program for the exact details). Funny that I’d never heard of it, even though it’s apparently been going on for several years now. The program detailed the various schools all over the country that will benefit from the proceeds of the event. These were mostly schools for children with special needs. I’ve put away the program in a safe place, because it’s such a good compilation of schools for the less-abled and who knows ... NYSC might actually decide to find other organisations to raise money for every Christmas aside from the Motherless Babies’ Home.

Back to Small World, the rain had driven many people away but a surprising amount still chose to brave the rain and stick around. Maybe the food was just too good. My friend and I wandered from tent to tent sampling the various delicacies. Although the cultural performances had been cancelled on account of the rain, a few groups still broke out into spontaneous song and dance.

As the rain started-up again, a group of (new and old) friends and I sat huddled underneath my umbrella and talked about life in Brazil (well, some of us talked and some of us listened).

It was surreal to be surrounded by mostly white faces and so few black ones. That Nigeria attracts a huge number of foreign workers is not news, but to see so many people in one place definitely has an impact that figures alone don’t have (at least, not for me). From the stalls, I could also see the variety of nationalities represented in Nigeria from the U.S, U.K, China, India through to Romania, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Brazil, Israel, and many others in-between. It makes you think: there must be many good things happening in a country to attract so many foreigners, even if we, the locals, miss some of it from time-to-time.


N'na Khady said...

Hey Ore,

loved the article, stole one comment or two since i am writing an article about the drenched small world celebration myself for the Outpost (shell organization for newly arrived expatriates)newsletter. I hope you don't mind. I arrived in Nigeria a year ago from the US (Florida) to follow my husband who just got a job here. I am Ivorian-French and even having lived in Ivory Coast most of my life Lagos has been an adjustment!
Anyway, thanks for the help with the article!


PS: I love Monsoon Wedding too, never seen Salaam Bombay though.

Ore said...

Hello N'na,

Welcome (belatedly) to Lagos.

Small World would have been a much more fun event without the downpour. Ah well, never mind! I still enjoyed myself.

Will I be able to get a copy of the article?